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gamma rays

What Are Gamma Rays?
Image: NASA

What Are Gamma Rays?

No other form of electromagnetic radiation packs as much energy as gamma rays. They're extreme waves, with extreme causes. For example, think of an explosion that emits more energy in 10 seconds than the Sun will emit in its lifetime. That's the sort of thing that shoots out gamma rays.

Gamma rays sometimes stop being a kind of light and turn into matter. And antimatter. Talk about an extreme beam!

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Telescopes & Light

Telescopes & Light

Different kinds of telescopes give us different information about the universe by detecting light of different wavelengths. Compare the images from a variety of telescopes. More...

Interactive
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Gamma Rays: The Incredible, Hulking Reality

Gamma Rays: The Incredible, Hulking Reality

Fans of The Incredible Hulk know how the comic book hero got that way. He was blasted with gamma radiation. Is this realistic? If not, why not? Find out here. More...

Article
LiveScience
NASA’s Fermi Catches Thunderstorms Hurling Antimatter into Space

NASA’s Fermi Catches Thunderstorms Hurling Antimatter into Space

Not only do some thunderstorms give off gamma rays, those rays produce beams of antimatter. The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has detected them shooting upwards from the storms. More...

Video
NASA
NASA’s Fermi Celebrates 5 Years in Space, Enters Extended Mission

NASA’s Fermi Celebrates 5 Years in Space, Enters Extended Mission

The Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope has surprised astronomers again and again. For example, no one had any idea our galaxy had 2 huge bubbles, until Fermi revealed them. More...

Article
NASA/JPL
Radiation Treatment

Radiation Treatment

Both x-rays and gamma rays can kill you — and save you. Medical science has found a variety of uses for these high-energy waves. More...

Article
BBC
8th Century Gamma-Ray Burst Irradiated the Earth, Study Finds

8th Century Gamma-Ray Burst Irradiated the Earth, Study Finds

Gamma rays from space blasted the Earth about 1,200 years ago, tree rings tell us. A similar event today could fry our electronics. More...

Article
Phys.org
Cherenkov Radiation

Cherenkov Radiation

When very high energy gamma rays go from a vacuum into a denser material, like air, they turn into particles of both matter and antimatter. These, in turn, produce a faint blue light. More...

Article
About.com
Gamma Rays

Gamma Rays

Gamma-ray bursts, which give off more energy in 10 seconds than the Sun may give off in its lifetime, are just one reason gamma-ray astronomy is fascinating. More...

Article
NASA
Gamma-Ray Bursts Quiz

Gamma-Ray Bursts Quiz

How well do you understand the most energetic events in the universe? This quiz will let you know. More...

Interactive
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
How Do You Detect a Gamma Ray?

How Do You Detect a Gamma Ray?

Ordinary mirrors and lenses can't reflect or focus gamma rays. But scientists not only detect them, they use them to make images of the things which produce them. More...

Article
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Ionizing & Non-Ionizing Radiation

Ionizing & Non-Ionizing Radiation

X-rays and gamma rays are forms of ionizing radiation. Find out what that means here. Then scroll down and click "Health Effects" to find out how dangerous ionizing radiation can be. More...

Article
Environmental Protection Agency
The Sound of a Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst

The Sound of a Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst

Check out these blog entries from a scientist who studies gamma rays using the Fermi Space Telescope. One highlight: a gamma-ray burst turned into music. More...

Article
NASA

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